At the end of a long rant on Gaza, Glenn Greenwald writes:
Especially in the American media, there is a constant focus on the effects on civilians from the rocket attacks on Southern Israelis — as well there should be, since that is an important part of the debate. But everyone should also be permitted to view the devastating effects on actual human beings from these Israeli bombing and artillery raids in Gaza. This truly horrific video — purportedly of a recent Israeli bombing of a civilian Gazan market — has been widely cited. I can't and don't vouch for its authenticity (UPDATE: there's good reason to believe it's not from an Israeli attack), but it's certainly reflective of the carnage in Gaza. It's much easier to undervalue the suffering imposed on The Other when you don't have to see it.
I guess Greenwald was too embarrassed to
acknowledge present the full truth in his update, that it seems rather clear by now that the video was actually footage of the result of an accident at a Hamas weapons parade in 2005.* [UPDATE: Greenwald responds in the comments that "I made clear from the beginning that while that video was being widely cited, I had obvious doubts about its authenticity." I'm not at all persuaded that simply refusing to vouch for a video's authenticity, but posting it anyway as if it represents some important truth, constitutes "clear" evidence of "obvious doubts about its authenticity." But if there were such doubts, why post it to begin with until its authenticity was established? We all make mistakes, but usually not ones that are quite so ironic, not only in that it turns out that Hamas was behind the carnage in the video, but because Greenwald previously accused yours truly of engaging in "emotionally manipulative means of argumentation".]
It's a lot easier to pretend that Hamas's weapons (which are vastly more lethal now than in 2005) are somehow the equivalent of large firecrackers (an analogy that's been made by quite a few others, not Greenwald) when you haven't just seen footage of them blowing people in half.
UPDATE: Just to be clear, I don't want to make light of the suffering endured by those caught in Gaza. As readers of this blog are no doubt aware, I put the primary blame for this suffering on Hamas, which could have cut off the violence (and, for that matter, the economic boycott of Gaza) at any time before the current war started by announcing its intent to refrain from attacking Israel and sticking to it. But the fact that Hamas has brought this disaster on its own population, and in fact cares not a whit about the suffering of the civilian population in Gaza (as witnessed by its constant violent attacks (e.g.) on the crossings that allowed people and goods to cross between Gaza and Israel) does not make the human tragedy any less. Unfortunately, however, I'm not aware of any war, no matter how just, that hasn't resulted in the suffering of innocents, and the risk of the suffering of innocents can't be the only criterion for judging a war. This is especially true when one considers that sometimes the short-term suffering of a war prevents more suffering on both sides in the long-term. I hope Israel action in Gaza is the latter kind of war, but Israeli politicians' actions in the past don't give me much confidence that they know how to turn military victories into diplomatic achievements.
* I deleted a sentence that on further consideration I thought was a bit unfair.